American Society of Hematology

Minority Medical Student Award Program Frequently Asked Questions

Get answers below to the most frequently asked questions about the ASH Minority Medical Student Award Program (MMSAP).

Eligibility

How do I know if I am considered a minority?

For the purposes of this program, minority is defined as individuals from racial and ethnic groups that have been shown to be underrepresented in health-related sciences in the contiguous United States and Canada, including American Indians or Alaska Natives, Blacks or African Americans, Hispanics or Latinos, Native Hawaiians or Other Pacific Islanders, African Canadians, Inuit, and First Nation Peoples. Applicants are asked to self-identify, and participants are drawn from this pool.

Which program should I consider based on my year in medical school and research interest?

Summer Research Option: Most applicants for this option are first-year medical students because the summer between the first and second year of medical school provides enough time to complete an eight- to -12 week research experience before classes begin in the fall. However, the MMSAP has received and funded many second-year medical students as well. In addition, students applying for a second research experience have applied in their third year, but the experience takes longer to complete due to medical school course requirements. If an applicant is not able to complete the eight- to 12-week experience during the summer, he/she will be asked to explain in the application the plan to complete the research experience.

Flexible Research Option: This option provides an opportunity for students in their second, third, or fourth year of medical school to take up to a year to complete an eight-to 12-week experience (approximately 320-480 hours). Students will be asked within the application to outline their plan for integrating their research project with their course work and/or clinical rotations.

Do I need to have prior research experience?

While it is not required, the review committee does take past research experience into consideration. However, if you do not have past research experience but have a strong track record of leadership and service and you are in good academic standing, then you will be considered favorably.

I am not currently a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, but my residency application is pending and I anticipate a decision regarding my residency after the application deadline. Am I still eligible to apply?

No. All eligibility requirements must be met by the application deadline. If you do receive permanent residency in time, ASH encourages you to apply next year.

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Application

When should I apply?

Applicants must have already entered medical school and be within their first, second, or third year of medical school at the time of application. Applications are made available in August of each year for funding to start in late spring to early summer of the following year.

Do I need to submit my undergraduate and medical school transcripts?

No. Applicants are not required to include transcripts from their undergraduate institution or medical school. For those applicants who do submit transcripts, please know that they will not be considered during the review.

Who should the letters of recommendation be addressed to?

All letters of recommendation must be included with your application packet. All applications must be submitted through the online awards system. ASH will not accept letters sent by mail. For those who want to include an address on the letters, please address the letters to:

Committee on Promoting Diversity
American Society of Hematology
Attn: MMSAP
2021 L Street NW, Suite 900
Washington, DC 20036

What is the review committee looking for in the letter from my academic advisor/instructor?

This letter is meant to serve as a personal reference for the applicant. Applicants are encouraged to identify someone who knows them reasonably well, both as a student and as an individual. While the review committee does not have a specific set of criteria for what these letters should include, the letter may emphasize qualities that make you a terrific candidate for the MMSAP, particularly those qualities that are not articulated elsewhere in your application.

What is the review committee looking for in the letter from my research mentor?

This letter is meant to address your project and role in it, your involvement in writing the project description, your qualifications, the environment you will be working in, and the other planned activities you will participate in, including lab meetings and conferences. Your research mentor must also provide information on his/her prior mentoring experience.

The application asks me to describe my role and responsibilities in the project. What should this entail? 

The committee wants to know if you understand what you will be doing in the lab. You should be able to understand and describe your role in the research project before showing up on your first day. Being able to articulate the research you will be involved in is the first step of your research experience. The committee recommends sitting down face-to-face with your research mentor a few times before submitting your application or having a few phone conversations. Part of the research experience is being able to communicate with and build a relationship with your research mentor; this begins with the application. In addition, you are expected to write the description of your research project in your own words. The committee looks unfavorably upon applications in which the applicant has not written the project description in his/her own words.

Do I need to include a timeline in my research project proposal?

A timeline is required for flexible MMSAP applicants and is suggested for summer MMSAP applicants. The committee recognizes that you may not have the specific dates finalized yet; however, the committee would like to have a general idea of how many weeks you will be in the lab and when you anticipate starting and finishing the experience.

What additional documents are required with my application if I am applying for the flexible MMSAP option?

Students applying for the MMSAP flexible option must complete the "ASH 12 Month Flexible Research Schedule," which is included in the application. The required form asks applicants to provide a brief description of how they will integrate their research project with their course work/clinical rotations over the course of the year (approximately 320-480 hours). In addition, applicants are asked to provide proposed dates and anticipated hours worked for the MMSAP research project as well as anticipated dates for project milestones.

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Mentors

How do I know if my research mentor is an ASH member?

Ask your mentor. The Society encourages you to build a relationship with your research mentor, and this is a great way to begin that relationship. Otherwise, applicants may email awards@hematology.org to confirm their research mentor's ASH membership status.

Please note that ASH will not provide applicants with a list of ASH members.

How do I identify a mentor?

You may identify a mentor yourself or submit a request to ASH staff to be paired with a mentor. The mentor must be an ASH member engaged in hematology-related research.

I missed the deadline to request a mentor but I still want to apply. How can I find a research mentor?

ASH recommends starting with your medical school, specifically faculty in the department of hematology/oncology or the hematology course director. If you are unable to locate a mentor at your own medical school, we recommend researching other institutions in the area.

Applications submitted without a research mentor identified will not be reviewed.

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